Wednesday, March 19, 2014

VOLUNTEERING ON THE CAMINO

SO YOU WANT TO VOLUNTEER TO BE A HOSPITALERO ON THE CAMINO??

Many pilgrims who have walked the camino find volunteering as a hospitalero (caring for pilgrims in an albergue) a wonderful way to give back to the camino.
Some pilgrims volunteer regularly at the same albergue: others put their name down on a register and are asked to go where the need is the greatest: many like a particular albergue so much whilst walking that they offer to stay and help out for a while.
There are many privately owned, small albergues where you can do this as well and they will welcome your free labour!

You pay your own traveling costs to France or Spain. You are given a bed but you pay for your own meals (unless it is an albergue where youcook for the pilgrims).

Besides greeting and registering pilgrims, a hospitalero works an 18 hour day making beds, sweeping floors, scrubing toilets, showers, and kitchens: doing the shopping, might have to cook for up to 40 pilgrims every night, sorts outs disputes and locks up after lights out at about 11pm at night.

Most stints are for 15 days and working for longer than 30 days is discouraged. Longer than that and you might want to shoot somebody!!

The Spanish Federation of Associations of Friends of the Road to Santiago in Spain, the Confraternity of St James in the UK, the American Pilgrims and the Candadian Company of Pilgrims and similar organisations in France and Italy run special workshops and courses for volunteer hospitaleros. In South Africa we have trained over 60 pilgrims to serve in Spanish albergues.
http://southafricanhospitaleros.blogspot.com/

The Spanish Federation (HOSVOL - Hospitaleros Voluntarios) criteria is that you have walked the camino and have done a training workshop. However, they will make exceptions for people who have walked the camino but who live in countries far away and cannot attend a workshop and would like to volunteer by allowing them to reside at an albergue with a hospitalero for three days to observe how the albergue is run.
As yet, there are no courses availabe to people living in Australia, or New Zealand .


You can also offer your help directly to the refuge - a list of refuges can be found at Jacobeo.net/refugios/

Here are some other sites which will assist you in becoming a volunteer:

Confraternity of St James - UK

Rabanal: Refugio Gaucelmo
Rabanal del Camino, León
Chairman: Paul Graham, Somer House, The Street, Chilcompton, Somerset BA3 4HB, p.
graham2712@btinternet.com
Coordinator: Graham Scholes 56 Chapel road,
Billingham, Stockton-on-Tees, Durham

Miraz – Camino Norte:
If you are interested in serving as a warden at Miraz (we still have a few vacancies for 2008, and will be glad to sign you up for 2009), please contact the Miraz Wardens' Coordinator.
Miraz, Galicia
CSJ Hospitalero coordinator:
Alan Cutbush, 35 Waltham Close, Ipswich IP2 9DJ
alan@cutbush35.fsnet.co.uk












Caminosantiago.org
Click on Federation and then Hospitaleros Voluntarios:
http://www.caminosantiago.org/cpperegrino/hospitaleros/hospitaleros.asp
E-Mail: hosvol@caminosantiago.org
Hospitaleros Voluntarios del Camino de Santiago. Aptdo. 315 26080 - Logroño (La Rioja)
This is the Federation of Associations on the Camino volunteer form.
Sevilla - Logroño – Vizcaya – Madrid etc


The association Hospitaleros Volunteers supported by the Spanish Federation of Associations of the Way, coordinates shelters in Arres (Camino Aragones), Navarrete, Najera,  Grañón, Belorado, Saints Day, Villalcazar of Sirga, Barna's Camino Real, el Burgo Ranero, Leon, Ponferrada, O Cebreiro, Triacastela, Samos and Ribadiso, among others. More information on the mail caminosantiago@caminosantiago.org


Logroño

Los Amigos del Camino de Santiago de La Rioja coordinates the care of pilgrims in the shelter of Logrono. You can contact through the mail - ruavieja@asantiago.org

American Pilgrims
Go to Join, scroll to volunteer.
American Pilgrims have their annual gatherings which include a training workshop for future volunteer hospitaleros.
http://www.americanpilgrims.com/events_national.html

Acacio da Paz
To volunteer for the Albergue at Villoria, write to Acacio da Paz at voluntarioscamino@ yahoo.es


Read an Article written by a first time volunteer:
http://www.csj.org.uk/bull-arts/c-jones-art.htm

Blog – with an honest report on volunteering:
http://innkeepersguide.blogspot.com/


…………………………………………………………………………………………
FRANCE

Information for those interested in becoming hospitaleros in the Grand Palais albergue or the pilgrims welcoming center in SJPP:

St Jean Pied de Port

Les Amis du Chemin de Saint-Jacques des Pyrenees-Atlantiques
39 rue de la citadelle
64220 Saint Jean Pied de PortFrance
http://www.aucoeurduchemin.org/
caminopa@hotmail.com

Vézelay route
Amis et Pèlerins de Saint-Jacques de la Voie de
Vézelay
www.amis-saint-jacques-de-compostelle.asso.fr
24 Rue Saint-Pierre - 89450 Vézelay
Tél. : 0033 (0)3 86 32 38 11

Le Puy route
Conques Hospitalité Saint-Jacques
www.amis-st-jacques.org/pages/hospitalite
Contact Pauline Dobon, Abbaye Sainte-Foy,
F12320
Conques tel 0033 5 65 69 85 12
email acceuil-conques@mondaye.com

From - http://www.jacobeo.net/hospitaleros/index.htm

To all who receive this information and want to participate in courses and assist in the hospitality during the ongoing campaign of 2008 we ask you to send us an e-mail, letter or call us by phone to send you the necessary information.

The Spanish Federation of Associations of Friends of the Road to Santiago explains here what is needed from our Hospitaleros Volunteers and its operation.

In recent years a large group of people of all ages and status, it has been proposed to renew one aspect of that hospitality thanks to the work of volunteers and cultural hospitaleros the Camino de Santiago. These are former hospitaleros pilgrims who spend part of their holiday to meet on a voluntary and unpaid, shelters for pilgrims, and to cooperate in the dissemination of the contents artistic, cultural and spiritual Path.

For us, the only requirement is necessary to be hospitalero is that you have done the pilgrimage to Santiago and want to devote your time and skills to the reception of pilgrims at the albergues. We believe that in order to perform this task well, it is very important that the new hospitaleros make preparation for a workshop to know in advance what they will find on the other side of the road, which is hospitality and that is often a tough job, nothing like a vacation alternative.
Normally, at the beginning of the year, between February and June, we organize a series of preparatory courses for people who have contacted us with the intention of working as a hospitalero during the year. These people have sent their personal data and any information that might be interesting for further work. These courses take place over the weekend, starting on Friday night and end on Sunday after dinner and is COMPULSORY. In very exceptional cases and for those people who find it physically impossible to attend a workshop for instance, because they reside outside of Spain, we also offer the opportunity to be three days in a shelter to become familiar with the work before joining the Hostel being assigned.

The normal time of stay in a shelter is 15 days, the first or the second half of each month. We would like to draw attention on this issue. It is very important to comply with this period fortnightly, you are advised to confirm in advance the time that you can have, making sure of the dates we say that you assign a destination. Similarly, if there are any changes, it is important for us that you communicate this as soon as possible, since it makes it very difficult for us which we can then not comply with what you have said and we believe gaps in shelters with so little time, we can not find a solution, because at the end, there are no shelters hospitaleros possibly could have had someone else to have known in advance. In some cases, and if they so desire, time spent as hospitalero may be wider, not being desirable stays of more than one month.

What is expected of the Hospitalero?

The following is from the CSJ of UK Hospitalero Workshop for 2008:

Gaucelmo General Policies:
1. True Pilgrims are those who are travelling on foot, by bicycle, or on
horseback and moving on the next day
2. Groups – no groups of more than seven people admitted
3. Length of Stay – pilgrims are only allowed to stay for one night
4. Bookings – It is not the practice to accept bookings of any description
Rules:
1. No smoking anywhere on the premises
2. Keep mobile ‘phones on ‘silent’
3. The main entrance door locked at 22:30
4. Total silence applies after 23:00
5. All pilgrims leave before 08:00
6. There is no fixed charge for staying
The 11th Commandment
• Getting rucksack ready the night before
• Not using alarm clocks
• Not putting boots on in the dormitory
• Not putting any lights on
• Not talking until well clear of the building
 
A Typical Day at Gaucelmo
• Get up at 05:30 (If serving breakfast at 06:00)
• Prepare and serve breakfast for the pilgrims
• Ensure all Pilgrims have left by 08:00
• Enjoy your own breakfast in peace
• Count and record the donativo money
• Re-make all the bunks in the dormitories and barn
• Clean the sinks and toilets in the servicios
• Sweep out and mop each room floor
• Clean the kitchen work surfaces and oven
• Sweep outside in the square, if necessary
• Sweep the entrance, patio and garden paths
• Take rubbish and glass bottles to the bins
• Drop off any stale bread at Oblines
• Listen out for the Bread Van
• Grab a bite of lunch
• Open the Refugio to Pilgrims
• Sign each Pilgrim into the register
• Explain the rules of the refugio
• Show the Pilgrims to their bunk
• Be available at all times for the Pilgrims
• Make afternoon tea and biscuits for the Pilgrims
• Go for dinner at Antonios/Gaspars
• Record sales of CSJ publications
• Ensure all Pilgrims are in the Refugio by 22:30
• Ensure lights out by 23:00
• Add Pilgrim numbers to the statistics sheet
• Total the CSJ publication sales
• Note number of meals taken on the Diary Sheet
• Prepare the kitchen for breakfast
Get to bed – you’ve earned it!
 
Qualities of a Hospitalero/a
• Greeting and welcoming
• Listening and accepting
• Tending to physical and emotional needs
• Cultivating one’s own responsiveness and flexibility
• Setting a good example of patience and care.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

CREDENCIALES AND COMPOSTELAS



Credencial del Peregrinos

Origins: 
The ‘Credencial’ or pilgrim’s passport evolved from letters of safe passage granted by the church or state (and sometimes the King) to people going a journey through foreign lands.  Prospective travellers, both clerics and laymen, combining business with pleasure and/or pilgrimage needed a ‘licencia’ to leave the country.  If pilgrims needed royal protection for their retinue, their lands, possessions and so on, they would travel with the king’s leave, ‘peregre profeturus cum licencia regis.’  A pilgrim needed to visit their priest and make confession before being given a letter stating that he/she is a bona-fide pilgrim, requesting safe passage, exemption from the payment of taxes and tolls and hospitality in the monasteries or ‘hospices’ along the way.  As late as 1778  King Charles III introduced safe passage documents for both merchants and pilgrims(This is copy of a safe-passage letter reproduced by the Confraternity of St James in South Africa)

 
20th century - Spain:
In the late 1950's and early 1960's five road routes leading tourists and pilgrims to Santiago were developed following existing roads.  A road map of these routes for pilgrims and tourists was published for the 1954 Holy Year with information on churches, monuments, hotels and restaurants along the way. A credential was issued, with blank squares, so that travelers could obtain a stamp at the places they stopped along the road including Jaca, Valcarlos, Pamplona, ​​Estella, Logroño, Santo Domingo de la Calzada, Burgos, Frómista, Leon, Astorga, Ponferrada and Monastery of Samos.  Once they arrived in Santiago they could ask for the pilgrim diploma which was funded by the Ministry of Information and Tourism and signed by the Archbishop of Compostela. This was issued in the Holy Years of 1965, 1971 and 1976.   428 credenciales were issued to both car and walking pilgrims in 1965 :  451in 1971 and only 240 in 1976. 
 
 




In 1963, Antonio Roa Irisarri, Jaime Eguaras Echávarri and José María Jimeno Jurío, members of the newly formed association of "Los Amigos de Camino de Santiago" in Estella, made a pilgrimage to Santiago dressed in Capuchin habits and leading a mule with a wagon. They designed a Pilgrim's Credential which was approved and blessed by Cardinal-Archbishop of Santiago Archbishop Fernando Quiroga Palacios. 
The cover design with a walking cane, gourd and scallop shell was adopted at the first international Jacobean conference held in Jaca in 1987.
 
 
The cover was changed in the 2010 Holy year
 
and this was subsequently replaced in 2012/2013 to celebrate the Ano de la Fe. 
 
 
A new cover was designed in 2013
 
 
The modern pilgrim no longer needs to be a Catholic, or make confession, or even get a letter from a church to be accepted as a pilgrim.  They will need an official ‘Credencial del Peregrino’ to stay in the network of pilgrim shelters, refugios and albergues on the Camino routes.  The official Spanish credencial is printed by the Cathedral of Santiago and is available from various parishes, bishoprics and associations along the Camino routes.  Only those walking, cycling or riding horseback are accepted in the pilgrim shelters. The credencial is concertina type folding card with squares for rubber stamps collected along the way. Pilgrims are required to obtain stamps in their credencial, proving that they have complied with the requirements for earning the Compostela certificate given to those who walk or ride the last 100km, and those who cycle the last 200km to Santiago. 
 
With the formation of St James associations in other countries, new versions of the
credencial del peregrino were issued. 

 
Soon, many tour companies offering Camino bus, or vehicle supported tours, started printing their own credencials and bus pilgrims who stopped at various albergues or bars to get a stamp in the credencial were arriving in Santiago to claim a Compostela.  This prompted the authorities to restrict the acceptance of credenciales to the official church document and those offered by affiliated St James organizations.

AT the time, Genaro Cebrian Franco, Canonic of Pilgrimages wrote:

For a long time the pilgrim document was the signed and sealed letter from his/her parish attesting to the intentions of the pilgrim.”

On 14 September 2000, at a meeting of the Santiago Archdiocese, the Archconfraternity, and the Federation of Friends of Santiago Associations, an accord was reached regarding future Pilgrimage-related measures.
Because of the large growth in pilgrim numbers (In 2000 the number of pilgrims earning the Compostela 55,004, and in 2007 it was 114,026) and the increase in commercial credentials, the need for one uniform pilgrim’s credential was recognized, and agreed upon.  Many more arrived at the Pilgrims’ office with credentials issued by non-recognized.  

Commencing on January 1, 2009, the Pilgrims’ Office will only accept the credential issued by the Santiago Cathedral, which has a space for the seal of the authorized institution, church or Santiago Friends’ Association that issued it.   Friends Associations that are not part of the Federation of Associations that may wish to issue credentials must contact its parish to obtain the information that must be imparted to those who wish to make the pilgrimage. Through their parish they may obtain a sufficient number of blank credential forms.
For the purposes of granting the Compostela at the Pilgrims’ Office only the credential issued by the Cathedral, or by those that are issued by Friends of Santiago Associations that clearly contain information about the religious character of the Santiago pilgrimage, will be accepted
.”

In addition, if you're starting in Galicia it is important to get 2 stamps per day in your credencial.   

The other credencial that is accepted is the University credencial:
CREDENCIAL JACOBEA UNIVERSITARIA   In 2002 the Alumni Association of the University of Navarre and Spanish universities located on the Camino Frances launched an imitative to promote the Camino de Santiago between the university communities internationally. With this credential pilgrims can also stay in the albergues and earn the Compostela in Santiago.   You can apply through https://www.unav.es/alumni/campusstellae/solicita.html  If you want University Compostela sent to you,by post or e-mail it is necessary to send the original or a photocopy of the stamped Jacobean University Credential with stamps of different universities visited along the Camino, and at least two stamps per day as well as the stamp of the Pilgrim Office in Santiago de Compostela. More information
http://www.campus-stellae.org


When the pilgrim arrives in Santiago they visit the Pilgrim’s Office in Rua do Vilar where the ‘AMIGOS’ will check the stamps in the credencial and, if they have sufficient stamps and can attest to having walked the Camino for a religious/spiritual reason, they will earn the coveted Compostela certificate.  This is based on a 14th century document, in Latin with their name written on it in Latin too.  If they have walked the Camino for reasons other than religious/spiritual, they receive a different certificate.




LA  COMPOSTELA: > 1321




Many people confuse the Compostela with an Indulgence. The Compostela is not a 'get-out-of jail-card', it is a certificate of completion awarded to pilgrims who walk or horseback ride the last 100km to Santiago de Compostela, or cycle the last 200km.   The Indulgence (for the remission of sins and time spent in purgatory) is given to Catholic pilgrims only who comply with the requirements of visiting the cathedral (you don't have to walk the Camino), recite a prayer, such as the Creed o Lord's prayer, praying for His Holiness the Pope; attend mass and receive the Sacraments of confession.

The 'La Autentica' (as it was first called) was originally an 18" X 20" parchment, hand-written in Latin with a small wooden Santiago pilgrim attached to its upper left corner. A requirement for earning this document was confession and communion (but this requirement seems to have been stopped from the 18th century). The oldest copy available is dated 1321 and can be found in the archives of the Pas-de-Calais in northern France.

Before the "Autentica", pilgrims collected a scallop shell as proof of their pilgrimage to Santiago. (Paper was costly and scarce).   When the name changed to the 'Compostelana' during the transition between the handwritten document and the advent of printing (which only reached Galicia in 17th century), there were two documents issued - one handwritten, carrying a 'Bula' or seal, and a printed one. There were many forgeries of this document which prompted the pope to threaten excommunication of anyone was found to be in possession of a forgery.  One can imagine a group of pilgrim friends travelling to Gascony, having a good time and drinking wine. They buy a forged Compostelana and travel back to England after a nice long holiday in the sun!

After the decline in pilgrimages from the 15th century, it seems that the issue of a certificate stopped for a few centuries, was revived in the 18th century and then stopped again at the end of the 19th century.

When Walter Starkie walked to Santiago in the 1920's, 1930's and 1950's he wrote in his book The Road to Santiago about collecting his scallop shell before continuing to the cathedral.
"We proceeded along the narrow streets to the offices of the Confraternity of St. James and I was given my scallop shell, which for eleven-hundred years had been the badge of kings, prelates and beggars alike."



18th century Compostelas
 

In the early 20th century, Cardinal José María Martín Herrera encouraged the return of organized pilgrim groups to Santiago. A medal replaced the Compostela in Holy Years (which saved printing costs and earned them some money). These were only issued in the Holy Years of 1909, 1915, 1920 and 1926.


For many years thereafter, pilgrimage was affected by the Spanish Civil War and in 1938, the Compostelana bore the words of Franco - "Prince of Spain and its supreme leader of the army."
 


In the late 1950's and early 1960's pilgrims who travelled on the newly established tourist roads in Spain, could claim the 'diploma' once they arrived in Santiago.   This was issued in the Holy Years of 1965, 1971 and 1976.


 In 1963 three members of the newly formed association of "Los Amigos de Camino de Santiago" in Estella made a pilgrimage to Santiago. They are warmly received and were issued with the new Compostelana certificates. The wording was different from the previous certificates: "Certifying pilgrims will be true pilgrims, not thugs or homeless, received wide acceptance in the Hospital of Reyes Católicos".


Until 1965 there was a special Maritime Compostela for pilgrims who sailed 40 nautical miles to Padron and then walked to Santiago from there.
Some stats claim that in 1974 only 6 Compostelas were issued. Records prior to the 1970's were lost.

1976 Compostela

In 1985 the name of the certificate was officially changed from a Compostelana to the Compostela.

When the pilgrim arrives in Santiago they visit the Pilgrim’s Office in Rua do Vilar where the ‘AMIGOS’ will check the stamps in the credencial and, if they have sufficient stamps and can attest to having walked the last 100km (cycled the last 200km) or a religious/spiritual reason, they will earn the coveted Compostela certificate.  This is based on the 14th century document, in Latin with their name written on it in Latin.  If you have walked the required distance for any other reason you will be give the 'tourist' certificate.  Those who continue to Finisterre will also earn the Fisterana.  And, if you walk to Muxia or Padron, you will earn their certificates as well.




Today one can download and print a 'virtual' Compostela from the cathedral website:


 

You can also apply for a memorial Compostela for a departed pilgrim.
 
 
The Compostela and the Tourist certificates have been upgraded and the latest versions will by added here as soon as they become available.

March 2014: 

Certificate of Distance:

The Pilgrims' Office started offering two new services.   In addition to the traditional Compostela and Certificate of Welcome which are still issued on a donativo basis the Pilgrims' Office is now offering a Certificate of Distance. This new certificate has been produced in response to requests from pilgrims. It records the route which the pilgrim walked, the starting point, the amount of kilometres and the date of arrival in Santiago. The cost is E3.
Read more:    http://www.johnniewalker-santiago.blogspot.com

  

New Service for Organised Groups
The Pilgrims' Office is offering to prepare Compostelas and Certificates in advance for organised groups so that they can avoid waiting in the queue at the Pilgrims' Office. If anyone wishes to use this service the group leader should email the Pilgrims' Office and they will be sent a form to fill in on behalf of the pilgrims in the group. The Compostelas/Certificates will be ready for them on arrival. In addition to this the Pilgrims' Office will also issue a certificate in the name of the group as a whole and will arrange to have the group welcomed by name at the beginning of the Pilgrims' Mass. This is a free service and donations are invited for the Compostela/Certificates.



Information on credentials and Compostelas from the website of Fernando Lalanda  - with permission.

and -  The 'Historia-Descripción Arqueológica de la basílica Compostelana , published in 1870,

 


 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Camino Caracoles 2013


It is a month since we set off on our ‘Caracole’ Camino and I am still processing many of the experiences, emotions, concerns and celebrations. 
 
Once the ground work for the walk was in place – arrival date set, rooms booked, stages worked out, taxi numbers listed – it was all up to the group members to make it happen.  And happen it did!

The team ‘Caracoles’ was a great team and none could have done it without the help and support they gave to each other. 
Reinette says that she could never have done it without me; I say that I could never have done it without Adriaan; Pat says she could never have done it without Janet; Ann could not have done it without all of us - and all of us had Bob! 

Adriaan was our interpreter, sweeper on the path, Veloped carrier and pusher and leader of the group when I wasn’t with them.  It could not have happened without his help and support.
Reinette cared for us all, offering massage for aching joints and muscles, doing errands and interpreting menus.
Janet and Pat shared their ‘drugs’ and food when other’s supplies ran low and offered moral support.
Uncle Bob?  Well, when you have a person of your age setting the pace and leading by example, it is difficult not to be inspired!

I have been asked if I will organise another, larger group of 'Caracoles'.  Yes - why not?  It was a great success and with a few basic changes, could be even better. 
 

Friday, May 31, 2013

Last Day! SANTIAGO!! ULTRIA Y SUSEYA!

After breakfast we met at the Monte de Gozo reception and started walking. It had been drizzling so everything was wet. After walking for about 45 minutes I called Luis and asked him to fetch the Irish lady.
We stopped at the little café-bar opposite the Porta do Camino to wait for her but she called to say that with the rain coming down she was waiting for us under the arches in the Cervantes square.
Bob went marching into the town on his own. "Every time I've walked into Santiago I have managed to get lost". He told me yesterday.  I just hoped he didn't get lost this morning.

The others walked through the Porta (the old gateway) and we walked together into the old city.  We found the Irish lady waiting for us and 6 of us walked to the cathedral.  When we arrived at the side door of the cathedral, I suggested to Reinette that she take Janet and Pat to the square to see the front of the cathedral.  I sent a message to Johnny Walker, letting him know that we had arrived. He said that he would be with us in 2 minutes.
Just then Bob arrived, 'I managed to get lost again!" He said.  Bob had missed the arrows and shells in the pavements and had walked away from the cathedral. Reinette, Janet and Pat came back and then Johnny Walker arrived. He told us that he had reserved a bench for us in the front row and that the group's name "Camino Caracoles 2013" would be called out before the mass.
We had time to check into the hotel and leave our backpacks with our other luggage which had already been delivered.  Then we all went back to the cathedral which was absolutely packed. Johnny was there to guide us through the crowd and we took our places in the front row.  The botafumeiro was hanging above the altar so we knew that it would swing after the mass. I don't think I've ever seen the cathedral so crowded and the security personal had to constantly move people who were sitting in the aisles, blocking the passages.  There were groups of young children sitting on the floor in front of the benches. The army were sitting in the enclosed area where Reinette and I had sat two weeks earlier with the Pilgrim Office 'Amigos!'


We felt like VIPs sitting in the front row.  A young man read out the names of the countries pilgrims had arrived from the previous day.  He then read out the names of some of the groups that had arrived - including Los Caracoles 2013!  We felt so proud of our little group

 
 

 
The mass lasted about an hour and then Johnny lead us outside, through the gift shop so that we wouldn't have to negotiate the front stairs.  We followed him to the Pilgrim's Office and we were led through the waiting queue to an office downstairs. 
Johnny had arranged for the Compostela certificates to be prepared and one by one, the walkers sat at the desk and answered the questions required to earn the certificate.  It was quite an emotional moment for Pat who had asked for her late brother's name to be included on the document - and for the Irish lady who accepted a memorial Compostela in her late husband's name.
Bob proudly displayed his completely full credencial.
After a group photograph, we all went to the Casino for a celebratory lunch. 




.
 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Day 15: Arca to Monte de Gozo

The same taxi man who brought us back yesterday picked up the group and took them back to Casa de Comida where they started walking to Monte de Gozo.  There were black clouds sweeping across bringing rain every half hour.
The taxi then came back for Irish lady and me.  He dropped us off just past the RTVGE centre on the way to Monte de Gozo and we started walking. Every now and then someone would want to take her photograph.  We stopped for a coffee at the last café bar and then walked the last few m to San Marcos chapel.  We took shelter inside when it started raining again.


When the rain stopped we walked through the complex to the reception which is about 500m from the entrance at the top.  There were army vehicles and tents on the field behind San Marcus. We heard that they had marched from Tui in Portugal to Santiago in less than 24 hours breaking a previous record.
Once we were settled in the rooms I walked back to the top to see the two statues of pilgrims pointing the way to the cathedral.  In the far distance you can see the triple towers of the cathedral about 5km away.
When the others arrived, a bit wet and bedraggled, we decided to visit the pilgrim statues and then have a snack in the cafeteria. When Finn walked with us in 2007 se had the best meal on the whole Camino in the buffet restaurant here.
We met later in the cafeteria for dinner and had a short meeting about our walk to Santiago tomorrow. Johnnie walker had texted me to please let him know when we arrived as he wanted to take us into the cathedral.
The Irish lady would meet us at the Porto do Camino and we would all walk in together. I gave them each a little wire pilgrim with snail made by a homeless man outside San Marcos.

It was an exciting thought that the Caracoles would make it to Santiago after 16 days of slow walking.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Day 14: Pedrouzo-Arca to San Paio

Doing the extra mileage meant that I had to redo the stages again for the next three days.
We decided to split the 20km into 7.5km today, 7.5km tomorrow and 5km on the last day.
San Paio is 8km from Pedrouza so we planned on walking to there.
The Irish lady thought she might try walking a little later in the day.  I gave her a few options of walking through the forest to the main road and getting a taxi back if necessary or waiting for us to come back so that I could walk with her through the forest and back again.  She thought she might wait until we got back.
We started walking at 9am, through the lovely forests to Amenal where we had our first stop.  Then on to San Paio, past the fence with all the wood crosses on the outskirts of the airport, and the famous Santiago stone marker where we had a group photo taken.  Reinette took a photograph of snails on the ground - Caracoles, just like us - inching across the landscape!



At Casa de Comidas we stopped for a drink and then called a taxi to take us back to the Pension. The first taxi man said we would have to wait 2 hours for him.  I phoned a second number and he said we would have to wait an hour. So I phoned a third man and he was able to come right away. Reinette and Adrian decided to walk back so we only needed one taxi.
When we got back the Irish lady showed us photos she had taken in the forest, and the white house at the end of the forest path. She had bravely walked up the hill and onto the Camino path through the forest. She also walked into town on her own - more than she had done in over a week.  We were all proud of her.   Bob, Adrian, Reinette and I had dinner in town.